When Katherine awoke, she was instantly aware that this was not her “place” in the park.
For one, she was warm. And dry. And there wasn’t branches dangerously close to hitting her in the eye. She was in a bed, medicine and water on a table to her right, a note laid right next to it:
“Hey, Kitty. You’re in my home while you rest. Come say hello when you can. Please get as much rest as possible. - Anna”
Katherine frowned; the last thing she remembered was falling asleep on Joan’s shoulder at the interview. Anna wasn’t scheduled to be there at all. What happened?
Her thoughts are interrupted by the sound of occasional clattering and chatter. Tilting her head curiously, she snuck out of the bedroom and ito the hallway, stating out of sight as she listened in.
“She only had a wallet and a bag of her old clothes?”
Jane. It sounded like Jane.
“No coat, a hospital blanket, no phone. We checked around the park to see if we could find where she was staying, but she must be well hidden. Maybe she has stuff there, I dunno. But she clearly didn’t have any help like us.”
That’s Anna. She’d recognize the voice anywhere.
“She wasn’t getting paid for her work, for the interviews,” Jane says softly. “We should change that.”
“Of course, maybe she can get an apartment with the funds,” Anna says. “She should be able to, anyways. They pay quite well, considering the day and age.”
There’s a moment of silence. It’s awkward.
“I actually… I have a third bedroom,” Jane says quietly. “But I see that you do, too.”
“Yes,” Anna says with a nod. “I kind of… I was hoping to invite Kat to stay with Bessie and I.”
“That sounds lovely,” Jane says, but there’s something weird with her tone. “I’m sure she’d love it.”
Kat frowns; she didn’t want to be a burden on anyone. She definitely didn’t want to suddenly occupy so much space. Now that she knew she could get money for her interviews, she thought, maybe she can start to live on her own.
She looks around before she spots the door; it’s out of the line of sight of the two queens sitting st the table. She can see that it’s locked, but she thinks she knows how to unlock it.
She creeps over, looking st the lock before she manages to figure out how to unlock it.
It makes a click sound, something that makes the two queens pause.
“Hello?” Jane asks.
But Katherine is already out the door.
She runs as fast as she can down the hallways, out of the flat and onto the street below. She knows where she is; she’s seen this place before. This is good.
She quickly makes a right and rushes down the street, even as Anna calls for her to return. She slips out of sight, coughing up a storm as she moves to head back to the park, back to home.
It’s cold and damp and she misses the warmth immediately, but she didn’t want to bother anyone any more than she has. The others can fend for themselves; why can’t she?
She has to stop when another cold wind blows through the area, coughing more and more. She doubles over, whimpering; her throat is going to hurt after this, she knows it, but she needs to figure out this by herself. She couldn’t depend on the others and, currently, she didn’t overly trust them, either; Jane was Henry’s beloved and Anna had a fairly good relationship with him, even after the divorce; who’s to say they don’t still love him? Who’s to say they actually care about her?
She moves to her spot in the park and frowns; nothing is there. She didn’t have a lot, but she can tell it’s been cleaned up. She remembers with a sigh that she also didn’t pick up her backpack before she left; everything, wallet included, is in Anna’s flat.
Somehow, she’s ended up worse for wear.
Katherine Howard sighs, a hand through her hair as she looks around. She’s not really sure what to do just yet, standing in the cold.
She’s about to hide in the bushes until she hears a soft, gentle singing voice. There’s something about it that calls to her, something that she can’t help but follow.
She finds that it leads to a pub.
She looks inside.
Anne Boleyn and Maggie Lee are up on stage. Maggie is on guitar, acoustic, and Anne is singing about something. About trying to belong.
Kat can relate.
The song ends and they get offstage. Before Kat even realizes what she’s doing, she’s walking towards Anne.
Boleyn looks up at her in surprise.
“Katherine, right?” She asks, tilting her head. “What are you doing here?”
“I…” Kat frowns when Maggie steps in.
“You look cold, Katherine,” Maggie says gently. “And you still have that fever… and your clothes haven’t been washed in a few days.”
Katherine frowns deeper at that, looking down at her clothing. She hadn’t really noticed.
“You’re still very ill, but you’ve seen Bessie and Joan lately,” Maggie finishes.
Anne makes a low whistle noise. “You can really tell all of that by looking at her?”
“I told you,” Maggie says. “It’s like there’s a link. To you and the queens and the other ladies.” Maggie shrugs before turning back to Katherine. “We need to get her inside.”
Anne, with a bright smile, leads Kat to the back of the bar.
“You two work here?” Kat asks, tilting her head as Maggie leaves them for the moment.
Anne sits down next to her, on chairs next to a small table that’s the impromptu break area.
“We bartend,” Anne explains. “Maggie’s done it since she got here. I just started. We do a little show for open mic night but that’s it. That plus interviews and the like.”
Kat looks up when Maggie returns with some soup. The lady in waiting gives a soft smile of encouragement and Kat smiles back, taking the bowl. She wheezes slightly but starts eating. It feels soothing to her throat.
“Why are you out here alone?” Anne asks gently. “I thought you were close to Anna.”
“I am,” Kat nods, speaking in between spoonfuls of soup. “But I just… I don’t know. I didn’t want to bother her.”
Anne makes a humming noise. “So if Maggie’s right, and you saw all of them earlier… you ran off, didn’t you?” Kat looks away, not saying anything. “You know they’re probably worried, right?” Silence. “And clearly you’ll need to go to hospital again, you look like death itself.”
Katherine curls up a bit, breathing a bit faster. Again, that feeling in her chest, the panic.
“Hey, Katherine? Look at me.”
Kat does. Anne is soft and gentle and smiling. “It’s okay. Can you breathe for me? That’s all you gotta do right now.”
“Hurts,” Kat manages, but she does start breathing again. It’s a good sign.
“You gotta breathe. Here, follow me.” Anne starts box breathing, which Kat follows. Eventually, Kat’s able to calm down, but not after a full few minutes of coughing.
Her eyes go wide when she coughs up blood.
“Ok,” Anne says, keeping calm. “We’ll get you to hospital and they’ll figure it out, alright?” She looks over at Maggie. “Can you-“
“I’ll inform the manager and find coverage. I know Lewis said he wanted extra shifts and he was gonna watch Netflix all day, I’ll see if I can find him,” Maggie says, already on her phone.
Anne nods. “Thank you.” She turns back to Kat. “Come on, Kitty-Kat, lets get- Kat?!?”
Katherine was just about to tell Anne that she didn’t need to worry so much, that she can handle it, that she really likes the nickname… but she’s suddenly hit with a wave of nausea. Her head feels like it’s burning up and she can only watch as the ground faster and faster comes up to meet her…
… and then there’s darkness.
And then there’s beeping.
And then there’s light.
Katherine slowly opens her eyes to find that she’s no longer at the bar; she’s at hospital, from what she can tell. She has an IV in and she can feel an oxygen tube against her nose. There’s a lot of monitoring devices as well.
It’s all very scary for a 18 year old girl from the 1500’s.
She tries to move, tries to leave, but a gentle hand on her shoulder stops her; she’s too weak to do much else.
She’s surprised, though, when she sees who it is. She can’t really speak, but she croaks our the name anyways.
Catherine of Aragon gives her a gentle smile and gently pushes Kat back to laying down on the cot.
“Hey, Kat,” She says. “Stay down, okay? You just rest. The others went outside to discuss something.”
Kat frowns, but leans back. She groans a bit when she tries to move - everything is just so heavy - and she closes her eyes soon after. Kat can hear people start to move in, but she stays still with her eyes closed.
“Did she fall back asleep?” Anna.
“Yeah, but she was awake a minute ago,” Aragon. “She tried to get up.”
“The poor thing probably doesn’t really know what’s happening,” Parr. “Doctor said it could take a few more hours for her to be lucid.”
“Is she going to be okay?” Anne.
“She should be.” Maria.
“Doctors said she might have a slow recovery, though.” Maggie.
“Definitely a slow recovery.” Bessie.
“She ran out on us.” Jane. “She ran out of he apartment.”
“We tried to track her.” Joan. “But Bessie and I lost her.”
Katherine doesn’t hear anything else, though, as she’s pulled back into sleep.
A few hours later, she wakes up again… and she’s alone. It’s a dark room and it’s clearly night.
Visiting hours are over, she assumes.
They must have kicked them all out.
She pages for the nurse and one comes rather quickly.
“Miss Howard, it’s good to see you awake, I-“
“I would like to be discharged.”
The nurse blinks. “I’m sorry?”
“Discharged. I want to be discharged. Right now.”
The nurse frowns, watching Katherine for a moment before she speaks. “I would need to talk to the doctors-”
“I don’t care what the doctors think,” Katherine says. “I need to leave. Before they come back.”
“Those ladies from earlier?” The nurse asks. “They said they’d be back when visiting hours are on again-”
“I need to go before they do,” Katherine presses, but she’s coughing up a storm again.
“Miss Howard, I wouldn’t recommend-” the nurse starts, but Katherine shakes her head and looks her directly in the eye.
A few hours later, when Anna and Bessie arrive, they are met with an empty bed.
The doctor and nurse arrive a moment later, having foreseen this being a problem.
“Voluntary discharge,” the nurse says when she sees their shocked faces. “She left in the middle of the night.”
“She’s an 18 year old girl,” Anna says, voice low and full of anger. “And you lot just… let her go?”
“She’s 18, she has full capacity to do so, and since she doesn’t have a caretaker on record-” the doctor starts, but Anna pushes him out of the way.
“Get the others,” Anna demands to Bessie. “We’re going to find her.”